Alien Weaponry’s (Niel de Jong) new ‘Whispers’ video a Harsh Commentary on Modern Political Issues
Less than a week after they were awarded the Te Whetū Maiangi Award for Young Achievers at the 2018 Matariki Awards, NZ thrash metal trio Alien Weaponry have released a new music video for the song ‘Whispers,’ off their debut album, Tū.
While previous hits Rū Ana Te Whenua and Kai Tangata have related to historic battles and injustices faced by their ancestors, ‘Whispers’ raises much more recent incidences of conflict – the Foreshore and Seabed Act passed in 2004; and the Trans Pacific Partnership, signed in 2016.
“These are just a couple of examples of the government not respecting the voices of the people, especially Māori,” says guitarist and lead singer, Lewis de Jong. “Even though historic wrongs have supposedly been righted with compensation, when the same thing keeps happening it’s hard to believe there has really been a change.”
The spoken excerpt at the beginning of the song is part of a radio interview by well-known Radio New Zealand journalist Kim Hill with Don Brasch, a former leader of two right wing political parties, and current spokesperson for a lobby group set up to advocate removal of so-called ‘special privileges’ for Māori.
“It’s kind of scary how many people share his views,” says drummer Henry de Jong. “They don’t seem to understand that the current policies are there to help redress the imbalance that was caused after over a hundred years of colonization. During that time, millions of acres of Māori land was stolen, they were excluded from voting and children were punished for speaking Māori in schools, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. That sort of thing can’t be fixed with compensation alone – it takes time and goodwill from both sides.”
The historic film footage in the background to the video features images of the Hikoi (March) against the Foreshore and Seabed Act, which put the foreshore and seabed around the coastline of New Zealand into government ownership, even though it had never been gifted, sold by or confiscated from its traditional Māori owners. Henry and Lewis (then aged 4 and 2 respectively) were among the 40,000 people who marched on parliament to oppose the legislation.
Also featured in the song and video are Labour MP Tariana Turia, who crossed the floor to vote against her own party on the bill; and well known Tuhoe activist Tame Iti, who was famously charged with treason for shooting the New Zealand flag.
The video was released this morning on the eve of Alien Weaponry’s first show in Europe as part of a tour that spans seven festivals and 12 club shows in six countries over two months.
The tour follows the release of the band’s debut album, Tū, in June – which has been getting rave reviews internationally.
“Taking the tribal exuberance of early Sepultura and giving it a distinctly Kiwi spin … making brave, innovative metal that bodes of a bright future for heavy music.” – Brandon Geist, revolver.com (25 Best Albums of 2018 So Far)
“Tū, establishes Alien Weaponry on the global music stage … perhaps the best metal debut since Conjurer’s acclaimed Mire.” – whatculture.com (5 Best Metal Albums of June 2018)
“This album is nuts … these guys hit it out of the park … as a debut album, this is extremely impressive.” – Two Toe Tags Metal Reviews, YouTube
“It’s a beast ... takes you to a place rarely visited … it’s easy to forget that this trio aren’t even out of their teens yet.” – Jenni McCarthy, Mayhem Radio UK
“A landmark album and a stake driven into the ground.” – Graham Reid, elsewhere.co.nz
“This is one of the best albums of the year, so far. When you don’t understand 90% of the language spoken, but you can still feel emotion, that f***in good.” – McCoy DS, Facebook top fan